Sam Wells (priest)

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The Reverend Canon
Sam Wells
Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Sam Well Preaching.jpg
Wells preaching at Duke Chapel
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of London
Ordination 1991 (deacon)
1992 (priest)
Personal details
Born (1965-04-24) 24 April 1965 (age 52)
Nationality British
Denomination Anglican
Spouse Jo Wells
Children Two
Profession Priest, theologian
Alma mater Merton College, Oxford
New College, Edinburgh
Durham University

Samuel Martin Bailey Wells (born 24 April 1965) is an English priest of the Church of England. He is known for his preaching, work in Christian ethics, community organizing and public discourse on issues of faith. He is the current vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, a church in central London.

Early life and education[edit]

Wells studied at Merton College, Oxford, and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree. In 1988, he entered Edinburgh Theological College to train for ordination. During his time at theological college, he also studied theology at New College, University of Edinburgh, and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree. He later undertook post-graduate study at Durham University and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1996.[1]

Ordained ministry[edit]

Ordained in 1991, he served Church of England parish appointments for 14 years in Newcastle, Cambridge and Norwich. He spent ten years of his ministry in areas of social disadvantage. For six years he was involved in establishing a community-led development trust, the first such organization in the east of England.[2] He also established a non-profit organization offering disadvantaged children opportunities to participate in creative play.

Dean of Duke Chapel[edit]

In 2005, Wells became dean of Duke Chapel and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School. He developed and chaired the Faith Council, which consists of 12 members from different faith traditions. He initiated dialogue and led discussions on faith and ethics.[3]

While acting as the Dean at Duke Chapel, Wells co-ordinated the ministry and music of the chapel, preached and led worship. He also oversaw the campus ministries and taught in the divinity school and the school of public policy. He worked with the local Durham community through organizations such as the Religious Coalitions for a Non-Violent Durham to foster a closer relationship with the university and the city.

Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields[edit]

Currently, Wells is the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London. He was inducted by Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, on 2 July 2012. As vicar, in addition to ministerial duties, Wells supports the work of The Connection at St Martin's and oversees the Vicar's Relief Fund, which sends out grants throughout the UK to aid people in crisis.

Personal life[edit]

Wells is married to Jo Bailey Wells, who is the Bishop of Dorking (consecrated 29 June 2016), previously chaplain to Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury; prior to this she had been Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, and was the Director of Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. They have two children together, a son and a daughter.


  • Eucharistic Prayers (coauthored with Abigail Kocher; Eerdmans, 2016)
  • A Nazareth Manifesto: Being with God (Wiley Blackwell, 2015) ISBN 978-1-119-06659-0
  • Shaping the Prayers of the People (coauthored with Abigail Kocher; Eerdmans, 2015)
  • Learning to Dream Again: Rediscovering the Heart of God (Eerdmans, 2013)
  • Be Not Afraid (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2011)
  • What Anglicans Believe: An Introduction (Norwich: SCM/Canterbury Press, 2011)
  • What Episcopalians Believe: An Introduction (Harrisburg, PA: Church Publishing Inc., 2011)
  • Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence (with Marcia Owen; Downers Grove: IVP, 2011)
  • Christian Ethics: An Introductory Reader (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Introducing Christian Ethics (with Ben Quash; Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
  • Liturgy Comes to Life (Durham, NC: Duke Chapel, 2010)
  • Living Out Loud (with Stanley Hauerwas; edited by Luke Bretherton, et al.; London: Paternoster, 2010)
  • Praying for England: Priestly Presence in Contemporary Culture (edited with Sarah Coakley; London and New York: Continuum, 2008)
  • Speaking the Truth: Preaching in a Pluralistic Culture (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008)
  • Power and Passion: Six Characters in Search of Resurrection (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2007; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007)
  • God’s Companions: Reimagining Christian Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006)
  • The Blackwell Companion to Christian Ethics (edited with Stanley Hauerwas; Oxford, UK; *Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 2004; Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, 2011)
  • Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos; London: SPCK, 2004)
  • Community-Led Estate Regeneration and the Local Church (Cambridge: Grove Booklets, 2003)
  • Faithfulness and Fortitude: In Conversation with the Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas (edited with Mark Thiessen Nation; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000)
  • Transforming Fate into Destiny: The Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1998; reissued Eugene, Oregon: Cascade, 2004)


External links[edit]